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Dear Friends in the Ann Arbor Jewish Community,

As leaders of the Jewish community in Ann Arbor, we are troubled by the rise of anti-Semitic activity and the Alt-right, which has emboldened those who promote racist and hateful agendas. The recent request by Richard Spencer to use space at the University of Michigan as a speaking venue has deepened our concern and spurred us to begin to formulate a suitable response should he be permitted to use the University as a platform for spewing his hateful rhetoric. Clearly, a visit by Richard Spencer to Ann Arbor will affect more than those affiliated with the University; it will surely have an impact on the entire Ann Arbor community.

We are preparing for this potential visit and are doing so as a united Jewish community. We are reaching out to Ann Arbor city representatives, the Ann Arbor Police Department, and to the University with the aim of collaborating on effective measures to ensure the safety of our community’s people and institutions and on a meaningful communal response to Spencer if he does come to Ann Arbor.  

We are also reaching out to affinity groups in the broader and campus communities to initiate conversations about working together proactively to develop a communal plan of action.

We are taught in Pirke Avot, “B’makom she-ain anashim, hishtadel lehiyot ish”, “In a place where people don’t behave like human beings, one should strive to be a human being.” We know the prospect of Richard Spencer speaking in Ann Arbor and the potential for violence such an event may bring is frightening. It is incumbent upon us to protect ourselves and protect others in our community as well. We will be vigilant in protecting our institutions, members of the Jewish community, and the Ann Arbor community at large.

If you have any questions, concerns or input, please feel free to reach out to any of us.

Chag Hanukah Sameach,

The Leadership of:

Temple Beth Emeth
Beth Israel Congregation
Ann Arbor Orthodox Minyan
Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation
Hebrew Day School
Jewish Community Center
Jewish Family Services
Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor
University of Michigan Hillel

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